A group of clean technology executives from British Columbia have waded into the fight over the Trans Mountain pipeline by voicing support for the controversial expansion.
More than two dozen executives and investors have written a letter to B.C. Premier John Horgan expressing concern that the province’s vow to block the pipeline could result in serious setbacks to Canada’s plans to address climate change.
According to the letter, the group’s members are involved in various industries aimed at reducing or eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.
“We’re very concerned that the demonstrations and the threat by the B.C. government to cancel the TMX pipeline will in fact cause that climate change agenda to go sideways,” group spokesman Denis Connor told CBC’s the Eyeopener.
“Particularly, it may cause the election of conservative governments that are opposed to the carbon pricing ideas of the present government.”
Connor said he is affiliated with a company that develops carbon capture technology but he did not want to reveal the name of the company since he is not speaking on its behalf.
The federal Liberal government’s approval of the expansion was necessary to bring Alberta on board with its climate change accord, Connor said. Failure to follow through would dissuade Alberta’s energy sector, and perhaps public sentiment, from supporting progressive climate change policies and investing in clean technology.
“I think the federal government is simply going to have to stay the course,” Connor said. “And there are going to be demonstrations all through the summer.”
In the letter, the group also argues failure to twin the pipeline will put Canada and Alberta at an economic disadvantage, but it won’t do anything to stem the global demand for oil.
“Canadian oil would just be replaced by oil from the U.S. or other jurisdictions having easier access to ocean transport and no carbon pricing,” the letter states. “By not constructing the pipeline expansion, Canada forgoes significant economic benefits with no offsetting global environmental gains.”
A better plan for Canada is to continue to regulate and tax carbon emissions, the letter said, adding the revenue from those programs should be used to continue to develop clean technologies that can reduce emissions an ease a transition away from dependence on fossil fuels over time.
“We believe the path to a stable climate is long and arduous with no easy short cuts, such as stopping shipment to world markets of oil from Alberta,” the letter states.
Connor said he has received a “kind note” from the B.C. government confirming it has received the letter and is awaiting a full response from the province’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.